How to ask an MEP for travel reimbursement

For some of you it might be neccessary to travel to FNF14 on your own money, e.g. if you are an independent activist or your organization is (like most times) short on funding. But there is the possibility to get travel reimbursement from members of the parliament.

Every MEP may sponsor up to 110 visitors per year in groups larger than 10 people, if you belong to such a visitor group it is mandatory to participate in a tour through the parliament. How much money will be paid to the group members depends on the distance between the departure of the group and Brussels – usually you calculate the average distance if the group is spread throughout Europe. The subsidy is €0.09 per kilometre per visitor plus meal expenses of €40 per visitor. If a group comes from more than 200 kilometres away and stays overnight, additional €60 may be paid for hotel cost coverage.

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What will happen at FNF14 …

If you haven’t been to FNF14 yet, you might ask yourself how the weekend will be structured. Therefore a very preliminary and rough schedule here. Some explanations are given below.


  • We will have plenty of room for workshops – some of them will be pre-organized, some of them will happen spontaneously. We made a small Call for Workshops here, but you are also encouraged to just come and host a discussion, workshop, … you didn’t announce before!
  • Another really important part is to get to know each other and their groups. Therefore use the opportunity to network – during the workshops, during the breaks or while socializing in the evenings.
  • Traditionally we make some outside actions in Brussels. There have been demonstrations and last year we made some “surveillance safari” to go and watch the watchers. This was really nice and we are planning another action this year (we’ll let you know more when time comes)
  • Don’t worry: Of course there will be breaks within the workshop blocks (not like in the schedule above). But as we don’t know how much time the single workshops will need and have rooms to do multiple ones in parallel, we will do this dynamically when deciding about the schedule together.
  • On Friday we start with the keynote but feel free to come earlier and have a chat.
  • The sessions on Monday are mainly self-organized meetings! Of course you can join others but there is no sense in talking to a parlamentarian with a huge group of people. Within the next days we’ll give some “tutorial” how to organize such a meeting yourself. And if you have further questions – just go ahead and ask!
  • Most important: FNF14 needs you! So, if you have suggestions, ideas, you-name-it, just approach us and participate!
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Freedom Not Fear elsewhere


From 27th to 29th September there will not only be our gathering in Brussels. Also elsewhere groups and activists will meet to stand up for their digital rights! For example in Luxemburg, where multiple organizations will gather to demonstrate against surveillance and other threats to free speech:

We want freedom of speech in a digitalized world and a free and uncensored internet to express ourselves.

We want privacy in the knowledge society, not surveillance.
We want to live in freedom, not in fear!

So if you cannot make it to Brussels but you are able to make it to Luxembourg: Join them on the 27th September!

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FNF14 has a keynote speaker & call for workshops

simonWe are proud to announce that this year’s Freedom not Fear conference will be kicked off by a keynote speech by privacy advocate Simon Davies. Simon is one of the pioneers of the international privacy arena and founder of the influential watchdog group Privacy International.

Last month, he published a report which revealed that the overwhelming majority of the world’s governments have failed to take any meaningful action in the wake of the disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden (pdf). So what is next for the European institutions ? We are definitely looking forward to his intervention!

Call for Workshops

We are also busy organising the rest of the weekend. Our schedule will include time for networking, the exchange of experiences and knowledge. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be workshops, talks and discussions. More detailed information will follow soon!

If you already have an idea for a workshop or a talk, please submit a short description by 15 August! Just send us an email: info(at)

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Freedom not Fear 2014 – save the date

One of the last things every Freedom not Fear plenary session does is to plan the next Freedom not Fear-Weekend, or at least to fix the date. And for those early birds who like to plan early, we can announce:

Freedom not Fear 2014 will take place 26th – 29th September 2014 at Mundo B.

Some people are currently starting to plan a couple of things. The more people engage in helping, the better! If you want to help, please have a look at the Wiki – and join the international mailinglist. That’s the place to ask your questions and to discuss your ideas! And just join us in Brussels, it’s easy and we also try to help you with acommodation and such. You will find more information about that here, as soon as we know.

You also may have a look what last year’s FNF-Weekend looked like, thanks to our first-time participants from “GoVeto”, who made this short video-introduction.


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Freedom Not Fear 2013 is beginning


Most organisational things have been fixed … we are ready to welcome you at:

Mundo B, Rue d Edimbourg 26, Brussels

Picture: Visiting the EU parliament this morning at its info point … o_O

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Press release: International Privacy Weekend “Freedom Not Fear” coming up in Brussels


Participants expected from many countries – Snowden’s leaks and EU data protection reform in the focus

After two successful years, this year the international meeting “Freedom Not Fear Brussels” will take place a third time (from Friday, 27 September, til Monday, 30 September 2013). Privacy activists and data protection experts from several countries and organisations will attend this unique combination of talks, political work and networking in Brussels.

Caspar Bowden, Peter Hustinx, Christian D'Cunha

Caspar Bowden, Peter Hustinx, Christian D’Cunha

This year the Snowden revelations (e.g. the cyber attack on Belgacom infrastructure by GCHQ, also known as “OP SOCIALIST”) have given FNF new impetus as well as the coming EU data protection reform, still hotly discussed in the Brussels bubble.

On Friday evening the independent privacy activist Caspar Bowden is going to open the self-organized convention with a keynote speech on the Snowden revelations and their impact on privacy issues. The following Saturday and Sunday will be filled with self-organized workshops, lectures and discussions, also including a surveillance sightseeing walk (not a public protest!) through Brussels on Saturday afternoon. Everyone is welcome to visit with us the European side of the spying business.

This year’s Freedom Not Fear gathering will be traditionally completed with the Monday full of meetings with politicians from the European Commission and Parliament, also including a slot with Mr. Peter Hustinx, outgoing EU Data Protection Commissioner.

“Brave Mr. Snowden brought to light the extent of citizen surveillance organized by governments and their secret services. With this revelation behind us, it’s good to have this upcoming weekend for discussion and networking,” says Michael Ebeling, one of the coordinators of Freedom Not Fear 2013. “But one thing is evident already: Things can’t go on like this. If necessary, we’ll have to talk about non-cooperation and civil disobedience in order to make a change.”

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Participating FNF13: Things, that could be useful


  • Head and heart, a pencil and/or your laptop for collaboration
  • Your presentation(s), doc(s), flyer(s), sticker(s) if you like to share something like this
  • Your own cup for drinking (and anything else that could make our meeting more sustainable)
  • A multi outlet power strip, if possible
  • A beamer/projector for common use, if possible (we need 4-5 at all)
  • Your sleeping bag (in case of using the mass accomodation)
  • Your ID card (in case of participating the Digitalcourage slot on Monday)
  • Binoculars, tin foil hats, paper baskets, surveillance cameras, beam antennas etc. and an umbrella (in case of participating the observation walk)
  • Printed fingerprints of your GPG-Key (in case of using the Cryptoparty for keysigning)
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Freedom Not Fear 2013 Brussels – It’s getting hot!


Only ten more days until the launch of FNF13 in Brussels, the schedule is getting busier and busier…

The Snowden leaks and the EU data protection reform will receive a lot of attention during our three-day-event in Brussels.

But there are also lots of different lectures, workshops and discussions that have been announced:

  • Video surveillance / CCTV
  • E-Health
  • Export of surveillance technology
  • Drones
  • Net neutrality
  • Internet of things

On Friday evening, Caspar Bowden, independent privacy expert, will launch the event with a keynote to discuss what we have learned since Snowden and what this might mean for Data Protection in Europe.

We are also going to do an observation walk on Saturday afternoon, during which we will visit interesting spots and buildings in Brussels (important: this is not a protest).

On the last day (Monday, 30 Sep) we will have the opportunity to meet with politicians and staff from the EU bubble. These meetings will include discussions with actors at the EU data protection reform, with Mr. Peter Hustinx, the EU European Data Protection Commissioner, and Mr. Christian D’Cunha, responsible for the Data Retention Directive within the European Commission.

We would like to remind you that participating in Freedom Not Fear is free, you do not need to register (except for some of the meetings on Monday!).

Join our international meeting, be part of it, feel free to intervene and to initiate your own slot/workshop about a topic, that you are interested in.

But whatever:

You’re welcome!

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FNF13 – Yes, it works!


Despite the quietness on this blog – Freedom Not Fear 2013 will take place, not a question!

The wiki has been refreshed, the schedule framework been set up, the chance for a free or low cost mass accomodation rented, all necessary rooms at Mundo B house in Brussels are waiting for us.

Joining Freedom Not Fear Brussels was free and still it is – all work is being done by volunteers, there is no payment.

And there are much more topics to discuss and network about, than our weekend-meeting could bear:

  • EU data protection regulation
  • PRISM, Tempora respectively all the questions about secret services and their mass surveillance ambitions and how/if that fits to our view of a free society
  • surveillance and combat drones
  • video surveillance
  • upcoming EU investigation order

Freedom Not Fear Brussels lives on the people, who are with it, bringing in their ideas and life:

Come and join us! Everybody is welcome!

Graphics: FNF Logo provided by EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) – Thanks! CC-BY-SA

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